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July 10, 2013

Maplin First To Start Selling 3D Printer In UK


Maplin has become the first British high-street retailer to sell a 3D printer, with the Velleman K8200 printer kit went on sale yesterday  in Maplin stores (9 July).

Maplin said it selected the £699 printer in part because it must be assembled by the user, which the electronics retailer said fits with its ‘build-it-yourself ethos’.

Coloured plastics

The Velleman K8200 can print anything in an area of up to 20 cubic centimetres using a plastic raw material that’s available in black, white, blue, red, orange, green, yellow and pink, although only one colour can be used at a time. The printer comes with a roll of five metres of the plastic, and refills cost £29.99 per 1kg.

The printer builds up objects by layering 0.5mm-thick slices of plastic on top of each other. The Velleman K8200 would take about 30 minutes to print a simple object such as a mobile phone case, while more complex objects could take up to several hours.

“Until now, the cost of 3D printers limited their use to the professional market,” said Maplin commercial director Oliver Meakin in a statement. “The Velleman K8200 kit has enabled us to introduce 3D printing to the mass market. We selected this model primarily because it offers high performance printing at an affordable price, making it accessible to our customers.”

The printer went on sale yesterday  in Maplin stores (9 July), with a roughly 30-day wait for kits ordered via the company’s website.

3D printing has been around for decades, but until recently has been too expensive for use outside of industrial design and prototyping purposes.

Broadening appeal

The technology’s broadening appeal was signaled earlier this year when web-based publishing platform Blurb created a print-on-demand magazine called Print Shift devoted to 3D printing.

Last month Stratasys, a specialist in 3D printing and additive manufacturing, merged with US-based 3D printer company MakerBot, another sign of growth in the market.

The spread of 3D printers has also raised concerns over the fact that they can be used to create weapons, with a US law student last year distributing designs for printing a working handgun.

Maplin pre-order page

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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini